Farmers affected by flood face financial ruin


A cruel blow of fate: Single mother Suhailiza checking the damage on her family’s chilli plants which were destroyed during the recent flood.

BATU PAHAT: What was supposed to be a game changer for the livelihood of a single mother from Kampung Seri Muar here was wiped out by the recent floods.

Suhailiza Suliman, 36, said the village in Parit Karjo was flooded on March 4 when water from the nearby Sungai Parit Karjo broke its banks.

“The river water came from the trench behind my house, and by the time we got out, the water had risen to about ankle-deep.

“This destroyed our chilli fertigation farm. My elder brother had suggested this project in January as a means to generate more income for our family.

“We really did not expect everything to be swept away,” she said, adding that the last time the village was flooded was back in 2006.

The mother of two said based on their plan, the chilli farm harvesting period was supposed to be before Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year.

“We planted 1,100 chilli trees and anticipated a yield of 70kg.

“The current market price for one kilogramme of chillis is about RM18, so that means we have lost around RM1,260,” she said.

It was a double whammy for the banana fritters seller when the floods also destroyed the banana farm in her village.

“I could earn up to RM700 a month but because of the floods, I have not been able to sell pisang goreng,” added Suhailiza.

Kampung Parit Karjo chief Mohd Aizal Selamat, 46, said the recent floods had destroyed most of the farming ground in the village.

“The heavy torrential rain was met by a high tide, that is why the flood this time was as bad as the one back in 2006.”

Mohd Aizal said there are close to 1,000 residents in his village, which is divided into four sub-villages, namely Kampung Parit Sapran Darat, Kampung Seri Pandan, Kampung Seri Muar and Kampung Parit Kassim.

“The majority of the villagers here are durian, rambutan, and jackfruit farmers.

“The trees have all been destroyed as the trees for these types of fruit will die if they get inundated,” he said, adding that he could not give an estimate of the total damage.

Kampung Parit Karjo is located in the low-land areas of Batu Pahat where waters from Segamat and Sri Medan flow into, said Mohd Aizal.

“The only difference this time compared to the 2006 flood is our recovery rate is faster as the Irrigation and Drainage Department has prepared more than 60 water pumps to get the water out more quickly,” he added.

Meanwhile, a long-time restaurant owner in Kampung Seri Gading, Siti Rohaya Salleh, is hoping the government can help with clean-up operations to speed up debris removal.

“The floodwaters have been receding since last Wednesday but some of the waste is still piled up by the roadside, causing rat infestations and air pollution.

“My restaurant is less than 50m from the mini dumpsite, so I hope that more effort and attention will be given to Kampung Seri Gading and Batu Pahat in general,” said Siti Rohaya, who has been operating the eatery in Jalan Seri Gading for the past 40 years.

The 66-year-old grandmother said the disaster has caused her to lose around RM11,000 as she was unable to open her restaurant for 11 days.

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farmers , floods , Johor

   

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